Fall 2019

SPOTLIGHT R owena Scherer, a busy working mom in New York City, founded eat2explore to teach her kids and kids around the world about different cuisines and countries while having fun. Scherer grew up cooking with her family in Malaysia, and as her kids were growing up, she forgot the joy of taking a break and cooking with her family. eat2explore is an educational food and culture explorer box, that inspires families to cook, taste, and discover different world cuisines and cultures. Families can explore a country, a continent or the world; eat2explore has 18 different countries/ regions, and they make it easy for families to spend quality time in the kitchen and enjoy a meal together. eat2explore is not just about putting another meal on the table; it’s about carving out time for family, learning tangible cooking skills, exploring world cuisine and cultivating sustainable consumption habits at an early age. The idea of eat2explore came to Scherer during a family vacation in Thailand in 2016. She discovered during a cooking class that although her kids loved to travel and try different cuisines, they couldn’t even chop an onion. Scherer felt like she failed as a parent, as some of her fondest memories were cooking with her family as a child. After some serious soul searching on vacation, Scherer decided that life is too short. She was two years away from turning 50, but still felt young and energetic. She had a successful career on Wall Street because it was the safest route from a financial security perspective, but now that 50 was coming up she decided it was time to pursue her true passion for food, travel, education and kids. Scherer is a culinary-trained home chef who knows what kids love to eat and how food and culture are intertwined. What better way to experience a new country and culture than through local food? Scherer came back from that trip inspired. She took a six-month sabbatical from work right after the trip to focus on developing the product, and the eat2explore meal kit was launched in January 2017. Within six months of launch, Scherer realized a meal kit with fresh ingredients was not going to work – fulfillment of weekly farm fresh produce is a nightmare, a meal kit business is hard to scale and her customers were stressed about having weekly produce going bad. However, customers continuously complimented the ease of cooking eat2explore’s recipes and their flavors. Many asked specifically for more of their specialty spices and sauces. In the Fall of 2017, Scherer participated in the NYU Entrepreneur Challenge (where she qualified through semi-final), and it was through a detailed analysis of the business for that Challenge that she pivoted to the current educational food and culture explorer box. Scherer’s original mission of bringing food and culture exploration to families in the U.S. remains the same, but the product is now a monthly explorer box with more educational materials, only three recipes with essential spice/sauce/grain mixes that are shelf-stable, and a shopping list for fresh ingredients and collectibles. Since it is a non-perishable product, eat2explore can scale and deliver all over the U.S. The current model of explorer boxes was launched in October 2018 and are available online at www. eat2explore.com, on Amazon, select gift stores and at OurHarvest.com (a New York farm fresh produce delivery company). eat2explore has also been accepted by homeschool academies across the country as an approved educational product where families can use school funds to purchase explorer boxes. Scherer is a legal immigrant from a small town in Malaysia called Muar. Through hard work she managed to get a scholarship to study abroad in New Zealand. That was her first trip out of the country and on an airplane. Scherer was also the first in her family to go to college. Her mother always told Rowena Scherer eat2explore A Business That Combines World Cuisine, Culture and the Joy of Cooking with Family 78 enterprising Women